His Jackets pull a no-show, and Paul Johnson is not pleased

This one picture is worth a hundred thousand words. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

This one picture is worth a couple of hundred thousand words, give or take. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Athens – There were two snippets of good news for Georgia Tech on an otherwise wretched Saturday: The Jackets still get to play for the ACC Championship, and the Georgia Bulldogs will be occupied elsewhere.

Other than that, this was a wipeout of epic dimensions. It wasn’t quite as bad as the 51-7 loss here in 2002, but at least that drubbing came in Year 1 under a new coach. This one arrived in Year 5 under Paul Johnson, who seemed the anti-Chan Gailey. Meaning: A man who could hold his own against the hated mutts. (Gailey went for 0-for-6.) But now Johnson, after stunning the Bulldogs on his first try, has lost four in a row to Georgia, and the series has again gone lopsided.

And Johnson, who on taking this job ordered that the slogan “Beat Georgia” be displayed on Tech’s practice field, was not pleased. Afterward his voice could be heard — at great volume and great length — railing at his players through the metal door of the visitors’ locker room, and his subsequent press briefing was sardonic even by Johnson’s standards.

When a reporter mentioned that early turnovers might have compromised Tech’s chance of winning, Johnson said: “Were you watching the game? Do you think it mattered where (the Bulldogs) got the ball?”

Speaking of which: “(Georgia) averaged 14 yards a play the first half.” (Actually only 10.6. But it seemed like 14.)

When another reporter noted that Georgia had the ball for only 8 1/2 minutes en route to 28 first-half points, Johnson said: “Good thing, huh?”

This is the same Paul Johnson who said in 2009, when his Jackets were about to play for (and win, at least on the field) the ACC title, who blithely said his program “had bigger fish to fry” than Georgia; the same Paul Johnson who has said repeatedly that he came to Tech “to win championships.” Technically, he still can claim the 2012 championship of his middling league, but the mythical state title is gone yet again. And, given that Tech’s 42-10 loss Saturday was its worst against Georgia under this coach, it wouldn’t appear the gap is narrowing.

Said Tevin Washington, Tech’s senior quarterback: “The only way we’re going to get it going the other way is to beat them.”

Whenever Tech loses — and it has lost half its games this regular season — the knee-jerk reaction is to label Johnson’s stylized offense as high-schoolish. But here again we saw that the option is all that distinguishes Tech as a program of worth. The defense, now on its third coordinator under Johnson, remains terrible. Special teams are again a calamity. If not for the Jackets’ capacity to run the ball, they’d be Vanderbilt before James Franklin. They’d be, in a word, hopeless.

But here’s the thing: The rest of Tech football has grown so feeble that it can no longer prop up the stylized offense, and on a day when the offense gets yards — Tech outgained the Bulldogs 426 yards to 379 — but not points, it has no chance. Said Johnson: “We couldn’t match them score for score,” and that has become the only way the Jackets can hope to beat anyone halfway decent.

This was the sixth time this season the Jackets have yielded 40 or more points. The wonder isn’t that they lost five of those games; the wonder is that they won even one. (At North Carolina 68-50.)

A big-time program cannot long subsist as a one-trick pony, and we’re seeing the limits of Johnson as a program builder. (As opposed to an offensive schemer.) He hasn’t recruited as well as he needs to recruit to sustain the successes achieved with Gailey’s holdovers. That Tech will play Florida State in Charlotte for the ACC title says more about the flimsy state of the conference than it does about Tech. The only time these Jackets look like a real team is when they have the ball.

The Jackets saw early Saturday what a real team looks like when it doesn’t have the ball. Tech back Robert Godhigh burst inside the Georgia 5 on the Jackets’ first series, and for a moment it seemed the game — Georgia had seized a 7-0 lead after 63 seconds — was about to be joined. But no. Safety Bacarri Rambo wrested the ball from Godhigh’s grasp, and that was essentially that.

Asked if it would be difficult to rouse his men to play Florida State after such a beating, Johnson said: “I look at it as another opportunity. We’ll see how they respond.”

It must be noted that Johnson did not give the impression of a coach living in fervent hope. True, a different opponent and a different venue could yield a different result. But it’s hard to imagine any game involving the Bulldogs turning out well for Tech anytime soon.

Further reading: On  Paul Johnson’s poor early choice and Tech’s lack of fans.

By Mark Bradley

519 comments Add your comment

GT in CT

November 24th, 2012
4:50 pm

Ben

November 24th, 2012
4:54 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

November 24th, 2012
4:56 pm

“No show” implies that they had the talent to win and didn’t put in the effort. They lost and continue to lose because they don’t have enough talent.

A mutt

November 24th, 2012
4:57 pm

Heheheheheh. More Rhodes and Fulbright Scloars too.

Must be bad if Bradley’s turned on CPJ.

GT2012

November 24th, 2012
4:58 pm

The performance by Tech didn’t surprise me. Georgia played like a #3 team should play. It’s sad the rivalry was sunk to this level once again…

GT1990

November 24th, 2012
5:06 pm

Tech might as well drop this game!

Spike

November 24th, 2012
5:06 pm

No rings rings this year. HAHAHAHAH

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

November 24th, 2012
5:09 pm

If the nfl outlaws all blocks below the waist and college follows i might actually feel a little sorry for cpj. Go dawgs

Hairy Dawg

November 24th, 2012
5:09 pm

I was shocked that Tech didn’t play harder than that. Johnson recruited all of those guys, so it’s on him. I sure am glad he did a great job getting his team ready to play.

Busted Bandwagon

November 24th, 2012
5:10 pm

Where are all the big mouth chest thumpers that used to be all over these blogs; yellow fuzz, st Simons, M, etc. the is a new sheriff in town, bla, bla, bla. Tech football is a wreck. And the good news it’s only going to get worse. Glad it hurts so bad

GT = 11 time loser to Mark Richt

November 24th, 2012
5:10 pm

<—- Had to change my name

Bamajacket

November 24th, 2012
5:10 pm

This is not hard to figure out. Johnson needn’t be yelling at the players. He needs to look in the mirror. 3 star players play like 3 star players. Against 5 star players, they look like, well, 3 star players. This offense is pretty much one trick pony. They have no passing game, no 2 minute offense, and he calls really dumb plays. Not only that, but his 3 stars can’t execute. Football on the flats is clearly going backward. How long does Tech let it go on? The stadium is going to look pretty empty next year. Do we HAVE to go to Charlotte next week? Why? we are seriously looking at 6-8 here. Going backwards at a rapid pace. Sad.

misterwax

November 24th, 2012
5:11 pm

yes, not likely to improve anytime soon….GA is very good this year on defense….the USC gane was an anomaly….Oh well.

DJ

November 24th, 2012
5:11 pm

Bradley; “greatest coach in Tech history” Nov 2008

1989Tech

November 24th, 2012
5:12 pm

It seems like we have settled for winning 6 to 7 games a year. I am so sick of GT using our acedemics as an excuse. Other academic schools are able to get talent into their programs, why have we settled for a gimmick?

The Ghost

November 24th, 2012
5:12 pm

@ A mutt……….What the heck is a Scloar??? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you are not one.

GT = 11 time loser to Mark Richt

November 24th, 2012
5:13 pm

CPJ is doing a great job and should get a contract for life

Rob of Naples

November 24th, 2012
5:13 pm

At least the Jackets seemed more competitive against the UGA second teams. Hooray! What I fear, as a 50+ year fan and Tech alumnus, is that Coach Johnson is coming across with recruits as smug and tight lipped as he does with the press. Our football program is in shambles due to what must be poor recruiting if not poor coaching. It feels today kinda like it felt after the election on 11/6. Maybe I’m taking this stuff too seriously?

DS

November 24th, 2012
5:13 pm

Dear GT, Please show some intelligence and relive Pal Johnson of his coaching duties.

Roy

November 24th, 2012
5:13 pm

Tech will finish the year 6-8. They stink.

zgoldatl

November 24th, 2012
5:14 pm

Tough game. Let’s win next week and get ready to end our Bowl losing streak. Then on to the Vad Lee era. Also Tech should hire Tenuta again

GTBob

November 24th, 2012
5:16 pm

I was shocked that Tech didn’t play harder than that.

They played fairly hard in the first half, they just had some bad turnovers. It was pretty obvious in the second half that the team was pretty much just running the clock out. Overall, it was the same story as almost every season in the last 40 years. UGA has more talent, therefore they win. Its not going to change so Tech fans should just be happy with 1 out of 10 if we can keep that pace up.

David S.

November 24th, 2012
5:17 pm

SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS…. FIRE CPJ

DS

November 24th, 2012
5:18 pm

Dear GT, Please show some intelligence and relieve Paul Johnson of his coaching duties.

JB

November 24th, 2012
5:18 pm

Those answers sux. Tech deserves better. His staff,his players, his scheme, his play calling. Maybe he ought to look in the mirror. Good news Tech fans. He has maybe one year left. Go Dawgs

The Ghost

November 24th, 2012
5:20 pm

Have you ever seen a game where the difference between 5 star recruits and 2/3 star recruits was so evident??? I was and am a CPJ fan but to continue to deny that recruiting matters is simply arrogance, if not, denial! It looked like the #3 team in the country versus, well, Georgia Southern. I hate to admit it, but we are definitely going backwards. Sending Chan Gailey packing was the right move. We were as good as we were gonna be with Gailey. Problem is, he should have never gotten the job and once he did, we kept him too long. Interesting question…..CPJ went from Georgia Southern to Navy to Georgia Tech…..where would he go next???

Roy

November 24th, 2012
5:20 pm

Burgess

November 24th, 2012
5:21 pm

Tell me again how good Johnson was at Ga. Southern and Navy

Roy

November 24th, 2012
5:21 pm

Oh and GTnoob, it’s 1 out of 11 for the nerds or bugs

David S.

November 24th, 2012
5:21 pm

Oleary proved that physical football can be played at TECH, think back to how bad Bill Lewis left the program, but you cant run a highschool style O at this level… It takes smart recruiting and installing some sound structure about your program on and off the fied with your actions, not YOUR MOUTH LIKE CPJ FIRST DID WHEN HE ARRIVED!

Spike

November 24th, 2012
5:21 pm

Please renew hls contract.

Burgess

November 24th, 2012
5:22 pm

I wonder if Ga. State or Kennesaw would hire Johnson

Bamajacket

November 24th, 2012
5:22 pm

FSU is better than Ga. Much better. Get ready for a serious butt whipping next week. Seriously. After several years of this I can only conclude that Tech’s players are playing as good as they can. At some point, somebody is going to have to acknowledge that our coaching staff, all of them, can’t recruit good enough players, or get the one’s they have ready to play.

Pitbull

November 24th, 2012
5:22 pm

After the UGA – Tech game I switched over to another game.

Saw an interesting news flash scroll across the bottom of the screen.

It said the NCAA is close to announcing that it is passing a rule making it illegal to block below the waist. No joke.

Wonder how Paul Johnson’s offense will work then without the cut blocks.

Should be interesting.

tinhat

November 24th, 2012
5:24 pm

@ The Ghost … as my 15 year-old daughter is fond of saying, “If you can’t win the argument (or, in this case, the game), criticize their grammar.”

Say it ain't so, Paul

November 24th, 2012
5:25 pm

Johnson with his offense is the only chance Tech has to compete at this level. The problem with CPJ is that he knows nothing about defense and unless he can get someone to come to the flats that he can delegate all defensive decisions to, 54 -47 scores will be our fate, year in and year out!

If do right, no can defense

November 24th, 2012
5:25 pm

Since CPJ arrived in Atlanta:
2008: 3-point win against uga
2009: 6-point loss against uga
2010: 8-point loss against uga
2011: 14-point loss against uga
2012: 32-point loss against uga

There are two reasons for this: 1. Mark Richt is an – hate to admit it – an outstanding coach. Fool me once and all that. 2. GT recruiting has deteriorated… with all of Gailey’s players gone, all the juniors & seniors are CPJ’s recruits… and they have underperformed.

I’m sure I can fit a cubic or exponential curve to the trend and come up with a 56-7 prediction or something next year in ATL. But I won’t do it because it’s obvious anyway.

whatsthatsmell?

November 24th, 2012
5:26 pm

Is GT worse than Auburnette?

GFF

November 24th, 2012
5:26 pm

Well said. Beating Tech NEVER gets old! Go Dogs!

GFF

November 24th, 2012
5:26 pm

Ms. Doubtfire!

GTBob

November 24th, 2012
5:28 pm

Have you ever seen a game where the difference between 5 star recruits and 2/3 star recruits was so evident???

It wasn’t just 5 star players versus 3 star players. That happens every year. This UGA team is probably the most talented team in the country and easily the most talented in UGA history. That is why there there is such a discrepancy. No matter how bad Richt coaches you can’t overcome that.

GFF

November 24th, 2012
5:29 pm

11 out of 12!

pw12

November 24th, 2012
5:29 pm

Cpj is ga techs “ray goff”" he needs to go open a zaxbys..im tired of techs mediocrity teams

cc

November 24th, 2012
5:29 pm

11 out of 12; 17 out of 21, and a 6-6 team in the ACC “Championship game”. What a joke of a team and and joke of a conference.

Sad GT Fan

November 24th, 2012
5:30 pm

Its different as night and day..UGA has 4 & 5 star players and GT has no stars. Its like a class A school playing a 6AAAAAA HS team. For many reasons GT can’t land those players…we all know why. I don’t believe changing coaches will solve that problem but I’d like to see more life and passion from players that another coach would bring. Todays game was what everyone expected…sad but true. GT player never expected to win. Every dawg has its day and today was UGA’s..Congrats!
GT is lower now than when CPJ came.. Drads left the building and we’re stuck for 5 more years..We are a wreck..God Bless!

GFF

November 24th, 2012
5:30 pm

GTBob…..Richt owns Tech. I doubt there were 1500 Tech fans at the game today. What a joke!

GTBob

November 24th, 2012
5:31 pm

Oleary proved that physical football can be played at TECH

O’Leary was granted a multitude of academic exemptions which eventually led to flunk gate. He is part of the reasons Tech will never be competitive again.

Chalupa Batman

November 24th, 2012
5:31 pm

Gosh lets see some more posts about the academics at tech, and the lack thereof (supposedly) at uga. Give it up nerds-no one cares. Face it we run this state.

How disgusted will you nerds be when we beat al and then beat nd for bcs champ??

But lets hear some more about your great academics……losers.

Woofy One

November 24th, 2012
5:31 pm

PJ was given the courses he wanted two years ago. The academic argument was never valid anyway.

GFF

November 24th, 2012
5:31 pm

Hell, Ray Goff owned Tech!! LOL.